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One hears a lot lately about America's biggest epidemic and threat to life and limb. It's not a flu nor heart trouble, nor cancer - it's fat…body fat…blubber.
There's no vaccine and there's no magic drug to prevent or cure the disease.
There are various drastic surgical procedures that can help, but these are expensive and involve certain risks. There are all sorts of appetite suppressants, some prescription, others available over the drug store counter. There are enough diets to make millionaires of those who dream them up and get them published in books. There are all sorts of ways anyone can check on the contents in our foods that cause trouble, not the least of which is reading labels. There are even pots and pans designed for healthier cooking.
So why are we getting fatter and fatter, especially our children? Why are we, I included, continuing to waddle through our daily life? It's amazing how a country where skinny fashion models are on pedestals, can continue to get so tubby.
It's no secret. The answers are readily available. What's missing is the willingness of those to whom they apply to admit and accept them.
The biggest mistake in recent times is the campaign to make everyone love herself or himself just the way she or he may be - physically, that is. It's much easier to look in the mirror and say, "I'm beautiful," than to shout out, "You're fat! Why don't you do something about it?"
The only public persona with enough guts to suggest this to people is a character I dislike who calls himself, Dr. Phil. He's one of those self-promoted millionaires. It isn't that I disagree with his motivating methods, it's that I find him and his ego offensive.
As a person who has spent years with weight going up and down like a Disney World elevator ride, I feel free to make these observations.
It takes a lot for me to maintain a slim body, mainly a low calorie diet and lots of exercise. I have a low basal metabolism so I can gain weight nibbling lettuce leaves. Unfortunately, my appetite exceeds my ability to burn calories. My problem has always been eating too much, rather than eating too many fattening foods. A cup of string beans is great, but a pound will be trouble. When you eat like two longshoremen you have to work like them, or you'll gain weight.
In my case, my first problem came when I stopped dancing. In a matter of two years, I had twenty-five pounds to lose. It took about six months to drop it and I kept it off for years. There were a few times when some pounds crept back, but I took care of them before things got out of hand. When my kids were little I went back to a local ballet school. When they were in their teens I joined an exercise studio, worked hard, and watched what I ate.
I really started packing on pounds after I moved to Maine - potato heaven. Once more, exercise saved me. I became a gym teacher and stopped going to church suppers. My next big slip was when I stopped smoking and shoved food in my mouth every time I wanted a cigarette. The eating continued long after the craving stopped.
I want it known that not one of my friends who also gave up smoking gained a pound. Gluttony was not a sin we shared.
Teaching aerobics helped keep me from ballooning into the stratosphere, but it took a serious medical problem for me to shed one hundred pounds. Some of that came back so I'm once more into the battle to lose weight, and this time I'm too physically handicapped to dance or exercise it off.
At least I don't avoid the truth. If I eat less, I'll weigh less. I guess I could use a visit from someone like Dr. Phil, even if I take the risk of knocking him silly with his diet book.
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